Saratoga Today: Saratoga Grad Finds Success with “Think Board”
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Think Board is aiming to change the game of note-taking, list-making, and plenty of other tasks. The product is essentially a clear, removable and adhesive panel that turns any surface into a dry erase canvas. It can be overlaid onto desks, walls and doors, to name a few.
Now, nearly three months shy of the one-year anniversary of the product’s launch, Think Board has had an increasing number of sales – proving the consumer support for the product is strong.
Hanson Grant, a 2012 graduate of Saratoga Springs High School and current third-year student at Boston’s Babson College, is the creator of Think Board.
Grant says back in high school, he created and sold whiteboard t-shirts that his peers could draw on, and used that same layering process and technology to create Think Board. He began using the prototype in his dorm room at Babson.
“I needed a place to write down ideas and stay organized and I felt that these resources from high school could really benefit my personal use,” said Grant. “Then a lot of people started to see it and thought it was cool and wanted purchase it.”
From there, Grant started a fundraising campaign through Kickstarter and was able to raise $10,100 through 199 “backers” to help bring his Think Board project to life.
“I wasn’t expecting it…upon starting the Kickstarter, I mainly did it for customer and market validation,” said Grant. “I wanted to make sure people thought the product was cool and that it was a viable idea. People loved it way more than I imagined.”
Through the fundraiser, Grant was able to improve the manufacturing process, create unique packaging and start mass-producing Think Board. He even set up Think Board’s headquarters – located at 610 Maple Avenue in Saratoga Springs. It’s currently staffed part-time by SSHS students John Layden and Jack McCarthy. Grant’s brother, Garrison, serves as the office manager. Because Grant is a full-time student, he works remotely from Boston.
Grant says the three goals of Think Board are to give college students a place to write down ideas and stay organized; give elementary students a platform to practice writing and math; and distribute the product in schools developing countries who cannot afford a whiteboard, chalkboard or paper.
An even heftier goal – Grant says he’d like to see Think Board on every desk in school’s across the country.
“We’re in two classrooms right now in Watertown Middle School out near Boston and we have a waitlist now of 60-70 teachers who are waiting to get Think Board into their classrooms. It’s an incredible learning tool,” said Grant. “I’ve had teachers tell me that it has increased the effectiveness of their teaching, the efficiency, the engagement of the students and the excitement within the entire class.”
It seems as though there’s no chance of Grant or Think Board slowing down any time soon. Grant says he and his team are exploring different markets and uses for the product, such as hospitals, offices, even bar countertops.
Think Board and those whiteboard t-shirts haven’t been Grant’s only business ventures. The business major, with a concentration on entrepreneurship, started EyeCare for Boston his freshman year at Babson – a venture selling “Boston Strong” sunglasses to support the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon and raise pride in the city.
“After these couple businesses, I realized that I’ve got something here that I really enjoy doing and I’m good at it, so I might as well keep going,” said Grant.
Think Board is available for purchase. The product comes in three different sizes and costs less than $30. Each Think Board kit comes with one Expo marker, one spray solution, one Squeegee for installation, one set of Velcro dots for the marker, and an instructions card.